MIDDLESEX TWP - Although food drives are especially popular during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, food pantries in the county need donations throughout the year to serve their families.
When donations slow during the summer months, local food banks meet these needs through a variety of sources, including local grocery stores and chain restaurants.
Olive Garden in Cranberry Township has donated more than 62,500 pounds of food to the area since 2005, according to Shawn Majors, the restaurant's general manager.
Some of that food has gone to The Lighthouse Foundation in Middlesex Township.
Cindy Cipoletti, the foundation's executive director, said Sheetz, LongHorn Steakhouse, Texas Roadhouse and Chipotle also donate to the pantry, which serves more than 300 families.
Theresa Berryman, The Lighthouse Foundation's marketing and grant manager, said Olive Garden has also helped The Lighthouse Foundation in other ways.
“We got a bunch of soup bowls and plates, and it was really a huge blessing for us,” Berryman said. “Basically everything we have is donated, and to have such nice dinnerware for the people we're serving was exciting.”
Eligibility to receive food from The Lighthouse Foundation isn't set in stone, according to Berryman. The only requirement to be served, she said, is to “be hungry.”
“Our job is to serve food,” she said. “They're responsible to be honest and say 'we need the food.' We don't check paychecks.”
Read the full story in The Cranberry Eagle.